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Stephen Hadley on the U.S. response to the Arab Awakening

August 19, 2011

Former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about the need for the United States to do its best to ensure the post-revolutionary transitions in the Arab Awakening succeed. He writes,

The role for the U.S. government is to help organize a “comprehensive approach” by our nation and others, bringing together and coordinating the disparate efforts.

This comprehensive approach would include Arab States, international organizations, major international companies, and NGOs. Hadley continues,

But first the U.S. government needs to organize itself.

PNSR has found that major policy initiatives are the most effective when organized around an empowered interagency team. Hadley proposes,

The president needs to appoint an empowered official reporting to him (or to the president through the secretary of state) to work full time on this effort. This official must create a small interagency team to coordinate all relevant U.S. government agencies in a unified approach. Even more important, this official must reach out to and encourage action by the various nongovernmental entities whose contribution will probably be even more critical to this effort.

Hadley experienced the major changes in Europe during the fall of the Soviet Union, and was a part of the leadership that lead the Bush Administration through arresting the escalating violence in Iraq. The administration should take heed of his experience, and not allow its Middle East policy to fall into bureaucratic drift.

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